LITR 091CH. Special Topics in English: Text and Image: Classical Chinese Painting and Poetry from Early Times to the Middle Period


(Cross-listed as CHIN 091 )
Combining some of the greatest works of Chinese poetry with approaches and visual materials from the history of Chinese landscape painting, in this course we will examine the changing use of landscape as a medium to express different philosophical and social meanings by competing social groups across historical periods from early times to the 13th century. In the first half of this course, we will see how natural landscape in poetry became a medium for conveying a range different ideals and problems: official service and reclusion in the countryside, Daoist liberation and Buddhist enlightenment, the sorrows of war on the frontier or travel into exile. In the second half of this course, we then apply our knowledge of Chinese poetry to interpreting a series of paintings from the Song dynasty (960-1279). This period is the golden age of Chinese landscape painting. It saw the emergence of literati-painters who, much like the great painters of the Renaissance, argued that painting possessed the same expressive power as poetry. We will explore the ways they employed painting to comment on an unprecedented range of issues, including government affairs, the role of women in society, the relation of private to public life, as well as the experience of dynastic collapse and war.

All primary texts will be read in the finest English translations available and we will make use of high-resolution on-line images. No Chinese language background is required.
Humanities.
1 credit.
Eligible for ASIA
Spring 2019. Ridgway.
Catalog chapter: Modern Languages and Literatures: Literatures in Translation  
Department website: http://www.swarthmore.edu/modern-languages-literatures


Check the Spring 2018 Schedule of Courses

Check the Fall 2018 Schedule of Courses




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